I always cringe a little when someone offers my kids a balloon. Sure, they’re fun to play with and kids love them, but then there are the inevitable tears when the balloon pops. The drama when someone lets go inside the house and the balloon gets stuck on the ceiling in that one corner of the two-story living room where there’s no chance of retrieving it. Or, the sadness when they manage to hang onto the balloon for the whole day, then wake up the next to find it deflated and sinking.
Early on, I started to encourage my children to enjoy the beauty of a balloon flying through the sky. As we’d get home with our new balloons, having enjoyed them all the way home, we’d walk out into the driveway and let go of the string, watching them take flight and soar.
It occurred to me that the problem isn’t so much the balloon itself, but the string. The balloon is made to fly. Filled with helium, it’s natural tendency is to float and reach the highest heights. Yet we’ve placed strings on the balloon to hold it down, anchor it with our desire to keep it close by and safe.
Stop holding your dreams so tight if you want them to take flight
In the same way, we have to let go of the strings we’ve placed on our dreams in order for them to truly take flight and soar. Do you have strings attached to your dreams holding them down and anchoring them to smallness of ourselves? Holding back their full potential to soar and reach the heights God intended?
What strings have you placed on your dreams? Fear of the unknown, feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-confidence, fear of financial risk, feelings of shame or unworthiness, fear of failure? That list could go on and on. Don’t we always find something that holds us back from stepping fully into our dream and trusting God to equip us to fly?
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
– Joseph Campbell
Chasing dreams means letting go and taking risks
By putting these strings on our dreams, we keep our dreams small. We try to hold onto our dreams until they’re fully formed and it’s safe to step into them, but that rarely happens. Dreams are risky. Dreams demand faith, courage, and trust. Dreams will never be fully formed; they constantly evolve as we take steps toward them.
Just like my kids with the balloons, if we hold our dreams too tight and don’t share them, they’ll pop. If we try to keep them tied down somewhere, they dreams will begin to deflate and shrink. If we only let them go in the safety of our house, they’ll hit the ceiling and get stuck, unable to truly soar.
In order to let our dreams really take flight, we have to take them out into the open and let go of all the strings. Take a step forward in faith and trust, knowing if the dream is aligned with God’s plan for our life, He’ll be the wind current guiding our dream in flight.
Chasing God’s dreams means letting it ALL go
Jesus tells us about this kind of trust in Matthew 18, when a young man asks what it takes to follow Jesus and inherit eternal life. This young man had followed all the rules and lived a good life, yet he was still holding onto one string, his money. Jesus told the man he needed to let go of ALL the strings in order to follow him and truly live.
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”
“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:18-30 NIV)
It was too much for the young man to let go of that last string. Maybe money is your string, or maybe it’s something else, but the question for each of us is the same. Will we let go of all these worldly strings to follow Jesus? As Jesus reminds us in this passage, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
So, what strings are you still holding onto? What strings are holding back your dreams from taking flight and soaring on the heights? How do we let go? Pray, and pray some more. Ask God to help you with the strings you’re struggling to release and let Him guide you.
“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.”
– Daphne Rose Kingma
This post is part of the “Imagine God’s Possible” series. For more information or to read other posts in the series, click here: Dream the Impossible… Imagine God’s Possible